This year’s class were treated to their first experience of swarm collection on Sunday, as a small swarm dropped in while the members were arriving at the association apiary. Fortunately our Education Secretary and course leader, Jane, is supremely well versed in the bee keeping arts and was on hand to re-house the errant ladies in swift order, demonstrating the techniques to the gathering crowd.
The bees had settled onto a small wooden post, so no quick easy shake-off here but Jane showed how they could be carefully scooped up by hand and/or smoked upwards into a suitable container (ideally a cardboard box, skep or nuc, rather than the plastic bucket shown here but you’ve got to work with what you have to hand!).
With the queen safely moved into a box it did not take long for the rest of the swarm to follow her, they are remarkably passive and easy to work with at this point. From there and now on new frames of foundation they were transferred to a waiting ‘poly nuc’, which will be their home for the next while.
With the girls secure in their new home they were moved into the apiary and will be fed some syrup in a couple of days, to assist them in drawing out the comb. For everyone else it was back to lessons as usual, inspecting the association colonies.